"They sent us on the reconnaissance - during the day. We were supposed to explore the opposite hill. It was basically leafless, there was only stream surrounded by few bushes. We walked along the stream. In case of need it would provide at least some shelter. The Germans hiding on top of this hill found about us and started to fire on us... We had to lay down by the water. We stayed there until the evening. It was already in October! It was very cold. At night we back off, but we didn’t know what to do...The people were all gone, there was only some sheep-fold. So we all lay down and spent the night there.
In the morning we found out that we were sleeping on a yard dung. But we were comfortable."
"After I finished my school, in May of 1941, I was sent (as the year of 1921) to Germany to work there. I went to Hagensdorf town. It was particularly camp nr. 8, near by Braunschweig town. I was there from May 21st 1941 until the Christmas of 1941. Then I managed to escape on one Slovakian transport. I ran away to Slovakia. But I couldn’t return back to Vítkovice town anymore."
"It was really terrible in Dukla Pass. The Germans were using their Minnie rockets. They were similar to the Russian katyusha rockets. The smoke was just all over. People of Dukla stayed hiding in their houses. I entered one house. Before I did I saw some wounded people. I saw even more death people. Some poor guy was lying in the ditch. The mine exploded right next to him and it ripped his entire chest off. I was being well aware of what may happen to me. I entered one big house. The people were hiding in the basement. I found lots of holy pictures scattered there. My Holy Virgin that went with me all the way from Dukla came from there. It’s old and shabby, but I keep it as a memory of those days."
"It was a drill indeed. The German officers were in charge of the whole training. I was included to the tank troop. The tanks were huge; we used to call them ´ten tons pan´. We must have washed them with the fuel during the winter. Later I have signed for the health care class. The meal was good, but the exercises...! We were practicing the tank rides in swamp near by Martinské Hole place. We practiced attacks in mud etc. When we returned from the field we didn’t even have time to wash ourselves, so we washed the clothes in the tub. After that we went for lunch. We were starving. For lunch we got dumplings sprinkled with dried ground pears. We got two dumplings each. They were big though, but for a young man it was almost nothing. So we kept coming back for more. But the cooks were experienced enough, so instead of giving us more food they used to beat us with the flour bags, so we had to go wash our clothes again. It was nothing like today - today, soldiers have all the service they need."
"We slept on the ground. Later on we had to go to the woods and create our dugouts to have a place to stay. It was a poor life. Our clothes were only the army uniform and a coat. That was all we had. During September and October it was still ok, but when the winter came, our shoes were absolutely not good enough. It was twenty or thirty degrees below zero. Inside the dugouts it was warm though, we used to have a small stove there. But one day we must have lay several hours in the snow waiting for the Germans. We got out in the very morning when it was still dark outside. It was a special SS unit we waited for. We waited almost until the afternoon. They were passing through several villages and were taking whatever they liked there. We didn’t have any supplies with us. We ate three months without a pint of salt for an example. We used the birch tree ashes instead of salt. So we waited there for the Germans to come. That afternoon one hundred and ten Germans died there and one hundred of horses with them. The next day we went to collect their weapons."
We were facing German firing, but at the same time the Russians were firing at us, too. I sat down under a fir tree and prayed
Jozef Činčala comes from Slovakia. He was born in 1921 in Čadca region. After training to be a machine fitter in Vítkovice, he was sent to Germany to work in May of 1941. At the end of the same year he managed to escape and returned to Slovakia. There he had a civilian occupation for a while, but in October of 1942 he was mobilized into the Slovakian army. As a part of the army, he was sent to Belarus where he worked for the cycling group at the military warehouse. Josef then joined the local partisans and fought on their behalf until the arrival of the Red army. After that he was sent by the Russians to Bessarabia for further training. Although he underwent parachute training, he mainly worked with ground reconnaissance. He fought for the liberation of Czechoslovakia in Dukla, Liptovský Mikuláš, Žilina, and Holešov. After the end of the war he worked briefly on the Hungarian and Polish borders and he also fought the Bandera’s force in Slovakia. Josef left the army in 1946 and got married. Jozef Činčala passed away on February, the 20th, 2007.